Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife and Nature Trails

Titusville, Florida

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Created from excess National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) land during the development of the U.S. space exploration program, the 140,000-acre Merritt Island Refuge is Central Florida’s principal wildlife habitat. Essentially, it is a huge expanse of chest-high salt marsh grass (with accompanying mosquitoes; carry mosquito repellent at all times) punctuated by small ponds and hammocks, and mosquito control dikes dating from the 1950s. The Cruickshank Trail, featured below, leads to some of the prime bird habitat. Over 500 species of wildlife inhabit the refuge, with 15 listed as federally threatened or endangered. In addition, the refuge contains several wading bird rookeries, 2,500 Florida scrub jays, 10 active bald eagle nests, and numerous osprey nests. During spring months, several hundred manatees may swim in the nearby Indian River.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge: Wildlife and Nature Trails Professional Review and Guide

"Created from excess National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) land during the development of the U.S. space exploration program, the 140,000-acre Merritt Island Refuge is Central Florida’s principal wildlife habitat. Essentially, it is a huge expanse of chest-high salt marsh grass (with accompanying mosquitoes; carry mosquito repellent at all times) punctuated by small ponds and hammocks, and mosquito control dikes dating from the 1950s.

The Cruickshank Trail, featured below, leads to some of the prime bird habitat. Over 500 species of wildlife inhabit the refuge, with 15 listed as federally threatened or endangered. In addition, the refuge contains several wading bird rookeries, 2,500 Florida scrub jays, 10 active bald eagle nests, and numerous osprey nests. During spring months, several hundred manatees may swim in the nearby Indian River."

Activity Type: Birding, Hiking
Nearby City: Titusville
Distance: 5
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy to Moderate
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Best Times: Fall through spring; best in winter
Local Contacts: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Driving Directions: Directions to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge: Wildlife and Nature Trails

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May 2018